ALSTOM has published a report which recommends new tram systems in a number of British cities as a way of making urban transport greener. This would be alongside the introduction of up to 400 hydrogen-powered trains.
The areas identified by Alstom range from Tees Valley in the north east to Plymouth in the south west, and all have populations of at least 250,000. An investment of £10 billion is suggested.
Leeds is the largest city in Europe without a ‘mass transit’ system, although more than one attempt has been made to introduce one since the turn of the century, while Hull, Doncaster, Leicester, South Wales, Belfast, Bristol, Brighton, Southampton and Portsmouth are also on Alstom’s list.
In addition, Alstom wants acceleration of railway electrification schemes and digital signalling projects, as well as regional schemes such as Northern Powerhouse rail and Midlands Engine rail.
The report says: ‘Halting global temperature rises to avoid the catastrophic impacts of a hotter planet is going to be the greatest challenge facing countries across the world. There is now a crucial decade in which to take the actions needed to reduce carbon emissions to keep average temperatures from increasing by more than 1.5 degrees. Significant steps on this journey must be taken now. But, the actions and changes required also need to be taken at a time when countries are experiencing the severest public health crisis in a century, which has caused unprecedented social and economic impacts, many of which are still unfolding.’
Alstom is set to complete its acquisition of Bombardier at the end of this month, while it is already developing a British hydrogen train at its centre in Wigan.
Alstom UK and Ireland managing director Nick Crossfield added: ‘Many areas need investment to help “level up” and to bounce back from the challenges posed by Covid-19. Green transport schemes not only help areas to build back better but bring long-term environmental benefits too. They have a strong role in reducing transport emissions, improving air quality, and providing an economic boost for local areas. Green public transport systems provide some of the tools areas need to tackle congestion, bring greener living and lever in investment and jobs.’